World News Brief, Friday October 30

Iran to cooperate on nuclear programme (+ analysis); Sri Lankan refugees refuse to leave Australian customs ship; Obama requests province-by-province report on Afghanistan; Europe debates Tony Blair's EU ambitions; and more

Top of the Agenda: Iran to Cooperate on UN Nuclear Deal

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has agreed to cooperate (NYT) with world powers on its nuclear programme but vowed not to retreat "one iota" from Iran's nuclear rights. Ahmadinejad spoke in the northeastern city of Mashad ahead of the government's formal response to the United Nations proposal for the country to send low enriched uranium to Russia and France for processing. Iran's state-run Al Alam Arabic-language television station reported that Tehran has sent its formal response to to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, though officials have not confirmed the report.

Ahmadinejad said the West had shifted its stance (LAT) from "confrontation to cooperation" because of Iran's "resistance against enemies."

Iranian officials have suggested in recent days that they wanted to amend the proposal, possibly by decreasing the amount of uranium shipped abroad or by lengthening the timetable. Meanwhile, international inspectors visiting Iran's nuclear facility near the city of Qom returned to Vienna today.


In Foreign Policy, Hillary Mann Leverett says the United States needs to recognize that Iran is capable of negotiating in an "active and constructive way" over its nuclear program.

CFR's Richard Haass asserts that Iran's political character--not just its capability--should define the international community's response to its nuclear ambitions.

In a CFR interview, David Albright says the preliminary agreement by which Iran will ship its low-enriched uranium to Russia for further processing "allows time for negotiations" to get Iran to freeze its nuclear program, but warns Iran might still block the implementation of the plan.


A CFR Backgrounder outlines Iran's nuclear program.


PACIFIC RIM: US-China Trade Talks

The United States and China met Thursday (Sydney Morning Herald) in China's eastern city of Hangzhou for the second day of talks over trade disputes and climate change. The two countries said climate change would be addressed before the December global climate change summit in Copenhagen.

Indonesia: The seventy-eight Sri Lankan refugees being housed on an Australian customs ship have refused to leave the ship (BBC), despite Indonesia's decision to accept the asylum seekers in a deal with the Australian government. Indonesia's foreign ministry said Indonesia will have to expel the asylum seekers if the stand-off continues.



President Obama requests provincial analysis on Afghanistan
Zimbabwe expels UN rights investigator
EU leaders differ over Tony Blair's prospects as EU president


This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on